Mariano Rivera's surgically repaired right knee still isn't completely healthy.

"It's not 100 percent,'' Rivera said of the torn ACL he suffered May 3. "I would say it's 95 percent. By the time spring training finishes, it will be 100 percent."

The Yankees once again will rely on the 43-year-old Rivera to ignore his age and remain the top closer in the game. They don't figure to have a backup plan, since Rafael Soriano is almost certain to sign elsewhere.

Despite his knee not being full strength, Rivera said he expects to have a "normal" spring training — with one slight alteration. He will start throwing "in another week or so. That I will start early."

Until then, he will continue his rehab from the season-ending injury he suffered while shagging a fly ball in Kansas City.

"I need to do more strengthening," said Rivera, who seemed to be in good health Saturday, when he gave a pitching clinic for 150 children, including many who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School, at Frozen Ropes Training Center in Danbury, Conn. "The hope is the 5 percent comes quick."